Oct. 1 will begin the sixth Nevada Office of Traffic Safety grant year for the Felony DUI Diversion Program which is funded in whole or part by the state supervised by the Douglas County Department of Alternative Sentencing. The department is overseen by Constable Paul Gilbert and under the supervision of Chief Michael Beam. The state understands the stringent standards participants must abide by while in the 3-5 year deferred sentencing program, therefore the grant provides funds for a case manager. The department provides probation officers who supervise defendants and the lab technician who operates the random drug-alcohol screening tests.
The program is an alternative to incarceration and offers the defendants an opportunity to address their substance abuse issues and become viable, productive, law-abiding individuals. Defendants appear every two weeks in the Western Regional DUI Court, one of two specialty courts in Douglas County, where they are held accountable for any violations that may have occurred, or encouraged to continue their positive path.
Defendants must be on house arrest for a minimum of 180 days when they begin the program and are responsible for paying the rental fee of the monitoring devices (alcohol monitors and/or GPS devices). Defendants are mandated to call a special telephone line every day, seven days a week, holidays included, to see if they must report for testing. For the entire 3-5 years defendants are in the program, they must pay to have an interlock device installed and maintained in every vehicle registered in their name. Defendants are also required to attend, at their own expense, substance abuse counseling throughout the deferred sentencing.
One defendant recently referred to the program as his “training wheels for life.” As defendants proceed through the program, supervision is slowly weaned, compliance dependent. Those who successfully graduate from the pProgram appear before their district court sentencing judge to receive a sentence of DUI II, a misdemeanor. Having been through a program aimed at addressing substance abuse issues and creating behavior change, it is the goal graduates will break the recidivism cycle that is high among those who just go to prison.
DUI Diversion Case Manager